The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






Merry Christmas

by Alexandra Edwards

"Silver bells, silver bells, it's Christmastime in the City..." The city of Cleveland that is, where the official start of Christmas 2008 events will commence with the lighting of the traditional community Christmas tree at the courthouse square on Friday, December 5th at 6 p.m. The tree lighting will be followed by "Carols in the City," a short tour of downtown Cleveland's historic churches where  musical presentations will be given on the church steps. There will be free carriage rides and special guests Santa and Mrs. Claus will be waiting to greet people in the bandstand.

On Saturday, December 6th at 6:00 p.m., the downtown Yuletide spirit will continue with Cleveland's annual Christmas parade. Beautiful lighted floats decorated for the holidays will follow the crowd lined streets of downtown Cleveland beginning and ending at Bradley Central High School on South Lee Highway. There is nothing like a parade where families can wrap up warm and cozy to welcome in the wonderful spirit of Christmas.

The city of Chattanooga will also present their Holiday Starlight Parade on December 6th at 6:00 p.m. With this year's theme being "Let Your Lights Shine" the event will feature performing groups, vehicles, marching bands, balloon creations and lots of dazzling floats. The parade begins at Miller Park and follows Market Street to the Tennessee Aquarium.

Alexandra Edwards

A little further from home in the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg's 33rd annual Fantasy of Lights and Christmas Parade will take place on Friday, December 5th at 7:30 p.m.

Recognized as one of the South's "top twenty events by the Southeast Tourism Society," this grand parade with over 100 entries will include marching bands, an abundance of sparkling lights and colorful helium balloons.

While homes and businesses throughout the community proudly show off a personal display of decorations and Christmas trees, the Ocoee Whitewater Center on Highway 64 will present a "Festival of Trees." Local businesses, schools and organizations have entered a display of unique creations of Christmas trees.

Categories include; Most Imaginative, Best Children's Tree, Best Homemade Ornaments,  Best Nature Theme,  Best Historical Theme, and Most Community Spirit.

The trees will be on display Friday - Sunday, December 5th - 28th. For more information call 423-496-0102.

The South is proud of it's heritage and traditional culture which is why as part of their Winter Day and Lights holiday event season, Downtown Chattanooga Partnership will present an "Appalachian Christmas" at the Waterhouse Pavilion, Miller Plaza, on December 12-13 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. This toe-tapping family event will feature traditional holiday tunes performed by local well loved Appalachian and bluegrass musicians such as The Dismembered Tennesseans, The Morgans and Lynne Haas, with a headline performance by Sierra Hull.

At just seventeen years of age, Sierra is a seasoned performer who has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry radio and television shows sharing the stage with numerous bluegrass legends. She was also recently nominated as the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Awards) Mandolin Player of the Year. Throughout the event, complimentary hot cider and sugar cookies will be provided.  With an admission fee of just $3 (children 10 and under free), this event makes for a good country foot stompin' night out. For more information, call (423) 265-0771.

Another traditional favorite at Christmastime is Rock City's "Enchanted Garden of Lights." Open nightly from 6 - 9 p.m. through January 3rd, this award-winning light extravaganza takes you along the Enchanted Trail to a fantasy land of a million lights that brighten the mountain with more than 25 holiday scenes.

There will be nightly entertainment in the Pavilion featuring various local choirs and musicians. While listening to the warm sounds of Christmas, you can enjoy a cup of hot cocoa next to the fireplace. For kids that love to dress up and face paint, for an additional charge, a new feature this year will be the "Sugar Plum Fairy Makeover." Admission to Enchanted Garden of Lights is $15.95 for adults and $8.95 for children. For more information, visit

The month of December would not seem festive without a visit to see the chubby white bearded old man we call  Santa Claus. Known also as Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle in other parts of the world, this dear old man has been a fanciful part of  childhood memories for decades.

Santa tries his best to get around to see all the boys and girls, but news has it that he will be sitting in the big green chair at Bradley Square Mall. Children can have their photos taken with Santa Claus daily Monday through Saturday, 10:30a.m. - 8:30p.m and Sunday 12:30p.m. - 5:30p.m. through  Christmas Eve when he will secretly leave the building on his reindeer.

Remember, it's not only the kids that love Santa, family pets can be a ham when it gets to having their photo taken. Santa will be available for pet photos on December 1st and 8th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Pets need to be on a leash or in a carrier.

Children are invited to join Santa for breakfast on December 6th at 8:30a.m. at Bradley Square Mall. Tickets can be purchased at Guest Services. All proceeds benefit Junior Achievement. For more information, call 423-472-5080.

Events for the month of December continue after Christmas with new year celebrations. What better way to ring in the new year than with a cruise down the river in Chattanooga. The Southern Belle Riverboat 'New Year's Eve Gala' will begin at 8:30p.m for light hors d'oeuvres and depart at 9:00 p.m.  The fare for dinner starts with Gulf shrimp cocktail followed by slow cooked prime rib and shrimp creole, redskin potatoes, steamed rice, seasonal vegetables, salad, and dessert. At midnight, the horns will blow, party favors and Champagne will be provided for each couple. For more information, call 800-766-2784.

For those who like to ring the new year in with a bang, go to Gatlinburg's New Year's Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show on Historic Nature Trail at the Parkway. At the stroke of midnight, the Space Needle area at traffic light #8 will come alive with spectacular fireworks. There will also be live entertainment and party favors. For more information call 800-568-4748.

With all the special events taking place during December, it is most important that we take time to remember what Christmas is all about.

A few years ago my young grandson requested that on Christmas day we have a birthday cake and decorations saying "happy birthday Jesus." Our family honored his request, lit the candles on the cake and sang happy birthday to Jesus while our grandson blew out the candles.

December 25th is not a holiday, but a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Merry Christmas!